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Tom Daley Makes a Splash at Commonwealth Games

Tom Daley Used the Opportunity to Champion the LGBTQ+ Community

British, Olympic champion diver Tom Daley rippled the waters at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. On the 28th of July, Daley entered Alexander Stadium in Birmingham carrying the LGBTQ+ Pride Progress flag alongside LGBTQ+ activists from more than 30 countries. This courageous act took place out of a desire to reject and criticise the 35 countries in the Commonwealth that are yet to stop punishment towards same-sex relations. An act that follows from Daley’s previous public criticism of the Commonwealth [in the context of sport] for continuing to support and involve governments that criminalise LGBTQ+ livelihoods. 

The accomplished British diver who won gold at the Olympics last year took to his Instagram to speak about this display before the opening ceremony was aired, stating, “In over half of the Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is still a crime and in 3 of those countries the maximum penalty is the death sentence.” And, “This opening ceremony for us is about showing LGBTQ+ visibility to the billion people watching.”

Tom Daley at Commonwealth Games
Tom Daley at Commonwealth Games © Getty Images

Additionally, Daley stuck to his promise of visibility by showcasing the six activists that stood beside him in the opening ceremony. Including Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi, Jamaican activist J-Flag Glenroy Murray, openly gay Indian athlete Dutee Chand, Zimbabwean activist Moud Gaba and finally, Trinidadian LGBTQ+ advocate Jason Jones.

To continue the fight, Daley and the BBC announced on the 27th of July that the diver would be the frontman of a new LGBTQ+ activism documentary, titled ‘Tom Daley: Illegal to be Me’. Having been aired on the 9th of August, the documentary saw Daley travelling to Commonwealth countries that still criminalise any LGBTQ+ activity. He chose to meet with people to discuss what can be done about changing the laws to make a non-heterosexual lifestyle safer for those involved. 

The documentary received positive feedback, and it is no doubt that Daley will continue to make waves, not ripples, in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights globally. 

Art + Culture Featured

Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony: Standout Moments

Birmingham shows off its musical talent at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony

For the past week, the Commonwealth Games has been dominating sporting news. Britain’s second biggest city has pulled off a spectacular competition, which saw many sporting triumphs – amongst a few disasters. As the games drew to a close, a colourful closing ceremony signed off the week in style, with some surprise appearances and some nostalgic tunes. 

Birmingham’s Black Country History was honored

Commonwealth Games
Nod to Peaky Blinders and the Black Country (USA Fire News)

Situated between the two cities of Wolverhampton and Birmingham lies a relatively working-class network of towns called the Black Country. The Black Country takes its name from the overwhelming pollution that tinged streets and suburbs to a murky dark color. The region is characterised by the network of canals that stretch from town to town, which once transported materials and goods at the peak of the industrial revolution. Creative directors Amber Rimell and Bronski said, “the show captures a poignant moment that reflects on Birmingham’s rich and diverse culture that makes this city so unique.” They even did a cheeky nod to Peaky Blinders, “Pre-set in 1950s post-war Birmingham, the show consists of real stories from real people who together made this city the thriving post-industrial heart of the UK.”

Ozzy Osbourne Makes An Unexpected Appearance

Ozzy Osbourne at the Commonwealth Games
Ozzy at the games (Independent)

Probably the most talked about moment is when the Brummie-born Prince of Darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne turned up to perform a selection of his biggest hits, including the metal hit, ‘Dreamer.’ “I love you, Birmingham, it’s good to be back!” shouted Ozzy to a hometown crowd. At the end of the iconic performance, he sent his heartfelt appreciation, “Thank you, good night, you are the best, God bless you all – Birmingham forever!”

The 73-year-old wasn’t expected to perform as ill health meant that he hasn’t taken to the stage in almost three years. His wife, Sharon Osbourne, who was also his manager, proudly shared photos of Ozzy and daughter Kelly on Instagram, saying, “thank you #commonwealthgames2022 it was an honor.”

The Closing Ceremony Was Effectively A Mini Concert

Beverly Knight
Beverley Knight (Birmingham Mail)

Birmingham has been a hotbed of musical talent over the years. As well as Black Sabbath, the city has been the launchpad of some of the UK’s biggest selling stars, including Duran Duran, Beverley Knight, Laura Mvula, Dexys Midnight Runners and reggae veterans UB40. 30,000 audience members and millions of viewers from all around the world tuned in to the spectacular concert which ended with an impressive firework display. Birmingham sure knows how to throw a party.

The show honored Birmingham’s rich Indian and South Asian heritage

Bhangra, Apache at the Commonwealth Games
Bhangra, Apache (Mid Day News)

A defining feature of Birmingham is its wonderfully multicultural society. It was great, therefore, to see Indian culture honored in a section of the ceremony, when Stephen Kapur, popularly known as Apache Indian played a collection of hits. Then, British-Indian model and activist Neelam Gill arrived in a yellow MG while Punjabi MC blasted ‘Mundyian To Bach Ke,’ which celebrated Birmingham’s daytime culture: originating in the 1980s and 90s. There was also a high-tempo performance from a Bhangra troupe, which brought traditional dance to a packed-out statidum.